Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MASHAV 2.0 - Israel Center for International Cooperation goes digital

Israel Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV, acronym in Hebrew) is a division in Israel's Foreign Ministry, and functions as a national Foreign Aid Agency. Since its creation in 1958, MASHAV has trained about 250,000 people from 140 countries, in Israel and in developing countries, providing training in a variety of areas, including agriculture, public health and medical programs, community development, integrated rural regional development and other areas.

Therefore, it was only natural for international agency like MASHAV to open up for social media. A year ago MASHAV created a fan page on Facebook - and it was the first fan page by the Israel's Foreign Ministry. Today MASHAV has more than 700 fans on facebook, but the number is less important than the profile of the fans. Many of them are people all around the world who participated in the Training Programs of MASHAV, and now they can keep in touch and be updated about the new programs, or raise ideas for new cooperation projects.

Another important achievement of this fan page was that it allowed for people who never visited Israel to learn about its experience in various areas of development. Among the fans of MASHAV we even have people from Moslem countries that don't have dplomatic ties with Israel. For the nation of Israel, who strives for recognition and good relationship with the Moslem world, this is in itself a significamt step.

You can visit Facebook page of MASHAV:

Encouraged by the success of their Facebook page, Mashav expanded its interaction thfough the social media and opened Twitter account:

The account was opened four months ago. Indeed, MASHAV has only 40 people following it, but... once again, the number is not everything. Look who are among MASHAV's twitter followers: UN, UNDP, OECD, FAO, USAID, ClintonNews, to name a few. With followers like these you can feel connected to the world...

Today Mashav has also its official blog:,
Flickr:, and they feel its only a beginning of the digital journey...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How Governments should recruit new employees?

The answer is simple - through the Social Web.

Look what happened two weeks ago:

Our Ministry's Legal department published on the official website of the Ministry and on the site of Civil Service Commision an announcement about open tender for recrtuiting lawyers.

They had only 2 weeks deadline, and no option for newspaper ad. I suggested to publish the tender through social media, and they Oked. They had no choice...

Then it was just a matter of two hours effort. With the help of two of my colleagues who are, like me, fans of Web 2.0, we put the announcement on the forums and groups run by lawyers for lawyers - on Cafe the Marker, Nana 10, Tapuz, groups on facebook and LinkedIn. What took more time, were some groups that required approval for joining. But after the approval that took 3-4 days, the information was placed there as well.

In 10 days since we started this "web 2.0 recruitment campaign", we had hundreds of applicants, and were over-flooded with the phone calls and faxes.

Some Insights:

1. In order to make it fast, organizations must have a presence in the social media. The more networks you have - the better. It doesn't mean that an organization should open their pages/profiles on all networks, but it should encourage its employees to do that.

2. The power of the social networks is not just in the big numbers - but also in small groups. Because we were able to focus our outreach, we targeted specific group, and received only applications that were relevant.

3. The whole operation cost was zero.

4. The response of the applicants was immediate.

5. We posted the announcement on the social network pages of groups or organizations, for example Israel Bar Association on Linked-In. Organizations that don't have social media presence are loosing potential clients that need quick answers in no time. For the same reasons organizations that require approval before allowing to post on their pages, must approve quickly, otherwise they also become irrelevant.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Social Media training program - January Update

The training program "Diplomacy in the age of Social Media", organized by the Training Department of the Israel MFA, started on November 2009, and we have only 2 meetings ahead of us. It's clear already now: the program was a real success. And we could measure it not only by the participants improved skills in using Social Media.

More than anything else, what we achieved in the course was the awareness of the participants, coming mainly from the generation of baby-boomers, to the need of going digital. Digital diplomats is not anymore a sci-fi for them, but something that could be done not in a life-time - 40 academic hours are quite enough!

Since many participants are experienced diplomats, and some of them are in senior positions in the Ministry, the whole idea of Diplomacy 2.0 and Government 2.0 now has more supporters. The bottom-up movement of Diplomacy 2.0 initiative will win gradually more supporters on all the levels, and the transformation will come inevitably. This is how we, evangelists of Social Media in government, should work.

See some pictures in the slideshow (below), taken on January 12, featuring the Youtube worksop and the presentation of Steve Ressler, founder of Govloop (US Government social network) who joined us through video-conference from Florida. He actually already wrote post about the video-conference:

The program of our course could be reached here:

We could and should go digital - it's easy and fun!